New research from Cancer Council Victoria’s Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division and University of Melbourne’s Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics concluded that the frequent and long-term consumption of these toxic beverages increases the risk of 11 obesity-related cancers (i.e., liver, aggressive prostate, ovary, gallbladder, kidney, colorectal, esophagus, postmenopausal breast, pancreas, endometrium, and gastric cardia), regardless of what you actually weigh. This implies that even if you are of a normal and otherwise healthy weight, you may still be at risk of cancer if you continue to drink sugary beverages. This conclusion likewise indicates that cancer manifestation is not entirely driven by obesity, but by its root — unhealthy food consumption.

The study, published in Public Health Nutrition, looked at two prospective cohort studies: the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS), which recruited 41,514 men and women aged between 40 to 69 years old, from 1990 and 1994, and the second wave of the same MCCS study which occurred between 2003 to 2007.

Data from 35,593 participants who developed 3,283 incidents of obesity-related cancers were included in the main analysis. At baseline, participants completed a 121-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), including separate questions about the number of times in the past year they had consumed a sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverage. Authors of the study also gathered the following information: waist circumference, smoking habits (if ever); leisure-time physical activity; and intake of alcoholic beverages (if ever).

It was found that the consumption of both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks was linked to a greater waist circumference at baseline. However, those who favored sugar-sweetened drinks also had a statistically significant risk of many types of cancer. Strangely, this risk was not shared by those who drank artificially-sweetened soft drinks.

All the same, the authors concluded that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases a person’s risk of developing various forms of cancer.

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